A Yurt for Monster Mountain Snows

Last week a few of the Colorado Yurt crew were invited to spend a couple of nights in the Fowler/Hilliard Yurt. The yurt is part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, a system of 29 backcountry huts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, connected by 350 miles of suggested routes. We set the yurt up this past fall on an exposed ridge at 11,300 feet elevation. It is one of our newly designed Winter Stout Alpine Yurts. Unfortunately, once we got above tree line, weather conditions quickly eroded. Faced with a whiteout and hip deep snow, we were forced to retrace our steps back to the trailhead in the light of a full moon. These are the exact conditions the Alpine Yurt is was built to withstand.

  • Massive snow – in a setting like this, it is not unusual to see several feet of snow on a yurt roof top.
  • Unbalanced snow loads – winds and drifts often pile all the snow on the north quadrant of the roof while the sun melts the south side clear.
  • Wicked winds – at this exposed elevation, wind gusts can easily begin to flirt with 100 mph.

Although it rarely happens in normal conditions, when exposed to rugged alpine conditions like this, a typical yurt can face partial to full collapse. Since we live in the heart of the Rocky Mountains we wanted to engineer a yurt that would allow fellow mountain lovers to live where they want to live and play where they want to play.

The thorough engineering of the Winter Stout Alpine Yurt also adds a couple of other benefits.

  • International Building Codes – the Alpine Yurt meets the structural requirements of IBC in jurisdictions across the country so you can document the structural engineering for building officials like you would for any building.
  • Seismic activity – the Alpine Yurt can withstand considerable earthquake movement.

So, although we weren’t quite up for the challenging mountain conditions on our last trip up to tree line, the Fowler/Hilliard Yurt was. The 10th Mountain Division has graciously invited us back for another go at it and we’re determined to spend a few nights in that yurt yet.

 

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